View Full Version : To PSA or not to PSA

11-14-2011, 01:51 PM
One of my goals this year was to join the PSA and get signature membership (just to look good on my resume ;)). Well, I've done that, and now I'm debating signing my paintings with PSA. Seems like everyone does it, but I've always thought it was weird. I've been mulling it over for a while now, and I can't decide which way to go.

I know this isn't overly important in the big scheme of things, I just want to make a decision and be consistent with my signature.

What is your opinion? If you are a PSA signature member, do you sign your paintings with PSA? If not, would you if you were? Does anyone else think it's weird, or is it just me?

11-14-2011, 02:43 PM
Kari I have to add my two cents on this I always seem to have a lousy signature on my paintings and I wish i didn't even have to put my name on them let alone more initials. just my weird quirk i guess

11-14-2011, 03:04 PM

Being a PSA signature member is one of my goals too. Because it is very difficult to achieve,I would definately include it after my signature.

11-14-2011, 04:07 PM
yeah , you're being a ' weird me ' = overthinking .
you met your goal , and earned it ,
so what's the angst ?
- put the PSA on the back of the painting , if that suits you ,
but if you've never seen the exhibition , you have no idea .

Ed :}

11-14-2011, 04:43 PM
Thank you David & Marlene for your opinions. I agree with both, that's my problem.:)


but if you've never seen the exhibition , you have no idea .

Ed :}

I don't know what you mean by that, Ed. ?? I probably am overthinking it. I will definitely put it on my info I paste to the back of the paintings. Plus all my printed stuff. I'm slowly changing everything over. It's just on the front of the paintings that I was debating.

11-14-2011, 06:27 PM
To tell the truth, I donít know that Iíve ever seen it on the front of a painting. I do see it on Letter Heads and Signatures (Correspondence), but I donít think I have ever seen it on the front of a painting. Iíve never looked at the back so I canít comment on that. Personally, I think all the ďlettersĒ after a signature can quickly get a bit out of hand. I recently dealt with a Client (Day Job) that had MBA, CPA, CFAÖ after his signature. I almost suggested he add SOL as that was where his request was headed. For me, a choice honorific or two is fine on ones site and their stationary, but I donít think it belongs on the front of a painting.

As an aside. I went to your site and I love your work. PSA is well deserved.

11-14-2011, 06:29 PM
That's an interesting point! I'd love to gain a signature membership in an art society, especially something that prestigious.

But my art signature is a calligraphic monogram designed to look almost like a chop or a cluster of runes. Adding PSA to RAS would possibly make it perfectly square, which could be fun depending on where I place it in the composition.

Or I'd just add it to the full signature on the back. Thank you for mentioning this.

I'm full of goals right now - become self supporting again between Street Artist Program and my website and my novels, get my art into a good gallery here in San Francisco (which will take doing some gallery worthy paintings), enter some contests once my finances stable, try to win something.

PSA signature membership is more out on the horizon like a Dream.

I need to have Dreams.

A couple of my biggest Dreams turned into goals with emergency efforts needed to make them real. I'm here in San Francisco instead of "Someday I'll go back because I'm so homesick." I finally finished jumping through all the hoops to get my Street Artist License. It'll be in the mail this week and then I'll be able to go out and do it again.

It helps motivate me to improve when I think of long term goals that are so far off they're Dreams. I fantasize about that success in detail including what kind of paintings could make it happen. I work harder on learning and studying to try to move closer, but not at a rush. More of a comfortable pace of being closer every time I move in that direction.

They do come true. I'll have the money for a membership at some point along my road to self supporting and do it, because there are a lot of benefits to PSA. I'll save up and go to IAPS someday too. Signature status would mean entering contests and shipping framed paintings to contests and juried shows till I had enough of them accepted or won to earn that. It's big with so many stages along the way that shooting for it would probably get me way past "live on my earnings instead of SSI."

It's also more exciting than "try to build a middle class income." More specific. More focused on improving my art than paying attention to money. So that's very cool. Thank you for mentioning it.

I might add it to my monogram anyway, since it'd make it square and even more like a chop.

11-14-2011, 07:03 PM
Thanks for the compliment, Mike! Have you never been to a pastel exhibition? Everyone I know who is a PSA signature member signs PSA on their paintings. It's the first thing I noticed when I started painting in pastel and entering exhibitions. I just wonder if it means anything to anyone who isn't a pastellist, or if it's just distracting on the painting.

Robert, I had no idea there was such a thing as a street art license. Interesting. It sounds like you are headed in the right direction to achieve your goals.

Btw, you can get signature status by jury and not just by entering the exhibitions. I've only been in two exhibitions so far, but I had to join the PSA this year for them to count towards my signature. Then I got the signature from the jury instead. The dues are expensive, though, compared to other societies. It is $75 for signature - I think it is $60 for associate members.

Deborah Secor
11-14-2011, 07:49 PM
I've never used signature membership initials on mine. I don't think it's any big deal either way, but I've noticed that none of the pastel "biggies" do.

Oh, and I've met bigwig artists with many letters behind their names who have decided to drop all the signature memberships because of the fees. The expense of being honored can get costly, it seems. How's that for a problem? :lol:

11-14-2011, 07:52 PM
You earned it. If you are a PSA Signature member then PSA should be beside your signature.:thumbsup:


Jo Castillo
11-14-2011, 07:56 PM
Kari, congratulations! I think your work speaks for itself. It is amazing. You should sign in the way that makes you most comfortable. Great stuff!

11-14-2011, 08:14 PM
Hi Kari: You went thru all you had to do: the application, the big fee, and you were considered good enough (way good enough in my opinion) go for the signature, and when you get beyond it and become famous you can always drop it. Congratulations.

11-14-2011, 08:23 PM
Thank you, Deborah - I agree, all those membership fees add up. It makes more sense to drop the memberships when you're at the top of your career, though, than when you're trying to build one.

Thank you Doug, Jo, & Derek! I think I'm more comfortable leaving it off. At least for now. I suppose I can always change my mind in the future, right?

Thank you all for your opinions!

11-14-2011, 08:30 PM
Kari, thanks! Yeah, I can see how that would add up, especially if I belonged to a lot of societies. But I could always just use the one that's relevant to the painting - OPS if I get it for oil pastels, PSA if I ever get that. Of course if I'm charging more for my paintings I might be able to afford the memberships.

That's so cool that I could get it by jury. Got to remember that when I start doing serious large paintings, that I could submit art to a jury to get signature status in PSA. It might be a bit less than spending hundreds of dollars shipping framed paintings to juried shows and exhibitions, also a lot faster. Still out in "Dream" category though, since I'd need to have a much bigger income. Though it'd be something to go in "business expense" rather than "personal."

water girl
11-14-2011, 10:18 PM
Congrats, Kari. The signature is will deserved!!! As always, your work speaks for itself.

11-14-2011, 11:34 PM
Congratulations Kari! This is not a surprise, your work is amazing. I think this is truly a personal decision, with no right or wrong answer. It really just depends on what you feel is right for you. Go with your gut and don't worry about anybody else's opinion. What counts is how you feel about it. Regardless, this is a great accomplishment, congratulations!

Barbara WC
11-14-2011, 11:51 PM
One question I have- when one gains signature membership, is using the PSA after your signature good for life, or only during the time you pay your dues? If one were to leave PSA in the future for some reason and couldn't use the PSA after their signature anymore, that artist will have paintings during that time period with a PSA after their signature, but earlier and later paintings would not.

I'd definately use it on correspondences, but not sure I'd personally use it on paintings.

There is a trend here in my area north of San Francisco that I'm seeing some work in any media without signatures on the front. One of my art teachers said it's a trend among contemporary artists here- to sign on the back and not the front. She said a couple of galleries are encouraging this. I'm no where near a signature membership in any society, so don't really need to even worry about this yet!

I don't think there is a right or wrong way to approach the whole signature issue, you just need to do what you're comfortable with.

Congratulations on gaining signatue membership- it is well deserved!:thumbsup:

11-14-2011, 11:58 PM
Kari, since you are in GH, do you participate in NWPSA, PSAWC or PAL? There are a lot of well known pastelists in those groups. I agree with Deborah in that one does not often see the PSA designation used by the big names. I just looked at some websites for very well known artists, and none of them are using PSA in their signatures. However, they are quite well known, and since you are likely on the up and coming trajectory, PSA added to your signature may be helpful.

You can always add PSA when the situation warrants for a client or a show.

11-15-2011, 08:07 AM

no one deserves the PSA more than you.....but you have to decide on the signature......

I would have a problem and my customers would be confussed as I paint in Acrylics, WC's, Oil and Soft pastels......therefore would I sign....

'blue..... PSA
'blue.....ASW(Acrylic Society of the World)
'blue.....WCW(Water Color Society of the World)

something to think about for your future endeavors......


I don't have a problem, I just sign 'blue......I don't belong to any of those societies,,,,,,,and ALWAYS on the FRONT.....that back signing business is something that has been tried, I don't know why, for a long time.....customers put out a lot of money for a good painting and want to see the artist's signature right up front.....it's not a cheap photo or reproduction, it's an original work of art!

11-15-2011, 08:25 AM
i meant that being in the building , the National Arts Club ,
seeing how the works are presented ( not much 'stacking' ) ,
the excellence , the variations of ideas/techniques , the originality ,
- it is a unique experience !

membership was originally by invitation after being juried into
three PSA annual invitationals .
- the current method makes sense to me because it extends
membership beyond the NYC metro area ,
recognizing excellence and promoting pastel as a signifcant medium ,
deserving its own category in any competition .
( things have come a long way since PSA was founded
40 yrs ago )

whether you mark 'psa' or not , it can only be on your resume
if you've paid the annual membership fee .
i don't know if it can be reintroduced if the dues have lapsed .

i think they have an archive/image library available for members
so that's a record for provenance and back-up for image theft/copyright violation .

anyway , Congrats ! and i agree with all the compliments .

Ed :}

11-15-2011, 10:45 AM
Robert - I just joined the societies I wanted to get a signature from, plus the local art league. It's a tax write-off anyway. :)

Thanks Karen & Chris!

Barbara - Thank you! I'm pretty sure the PSA signature can only be used if you are current on your dues. I think if you let your membership lapse you either have to pay the back dues to get your signature reinstated, or you have to earn it all over again.

Japonaise - I am a member of PAL, and if you're talking about the Northwest Pastel Society (NPS) and the Pastel Society of the West Coast (PSWC) then yes, I am a member of those as well. I was thinking the same thing (adding it on for a show) but these days I put almost everything I do into shows.

Thanks, Blue! I agree, paintings should be signed on the front. I don't know why any gallery would encourage signing on the back. Makes no sense.

Thanks, Ed. I've considered going, but have not been to the PSA exhibit. Seeing the pictures from the exhibit always makes me want to go. Sometime I'm going to get out there for it.

11-15-2011, 11:21 AM
Have I been to large strictly pastel shows no. I do attend quite a few exhibits in general though (that include pastel) and I donít recall seeing Artist appending to their signature. As an example, I donít see Richard Humphrey Ė PAPA or Dan Pinkham Ė CAC. My take on this and this is to an extent personal opinion. Is on a painting, Iím trying to sell the art in of itself, not my background or education. On correspondence or a website, Iím selling myself and here it is very appropriate.

11-15-2011, 12:02 PM
I guess I've been lucky - most of the NPS exhibits are local to me. I'd like to get down to a PSWC show some day. I've heard they're excellent. But I agree with you - I don't think I've seen anyone painting in other media use their signature memberships on their paintings. Just pastel. I've seen paintings with NPS on them, and I have a friend who does both NPS and PSA. I've just always thought it was weird. Distracting even.

11-15-2011, 01:17 PM

First, I looked at your web site. Fantastic work - I love your dog demo. And when I say fantastic, I mean it. It's not a word to be used lightly.

Second, a correction. I got so into the mode of thinking about PSA commentary that, in a fit of brain freeze, I used incorrect acronyms. Sorry. And my apologies to NPS and PSWC. I'm a member of both of those excellent organizations - and PAL too.


11-15-2011, 02:07 PM
That's very nice of you to say, thank you. I'm glad you liked the demo.

We're a member of the same societies. We've probably seen each other and not even known it. Maybe we'll meet at a PAL meeting sometime. :)

11-16-2011, 02:33 PM
Congrats...you'll know when to add it!

11-16-2011, 10:01 PM
Congratulations Kari for both achieving one your goals and the PSA. If your PSA status shows on all promotional material (yours/gallery's), and on information at the show (tags, or other materials handed out at an exhibit/sale), plus on back of the painting perhaps it isn't necessary in your signature on the work itself?

Very well deserved. Enjoy :)

11-16-2011, 10:30 PM
Thanks, Mike!

Thanks, Nell! That's exactly what I was thinking. :)